TinyURLs in UIEtips

Jared Spool

January 19th, 2006

Ulf wrote about UIEtips, our email newsletter:

First thank you for your newsletter which I really appreciate, but why do you persist on using tinyURLs? That can’t be user-friendly.

Yes, they might be shorter, but they really don’t make sense. It’s like buying a pig in a poke.

TinyURLs are a service provided by the great folks at Gilby Productions. When you give the TinyURL system a long URL, it comes back with an abbreviated one, like this: http://tinyurl.com/cxsml

We use tinyURLs because the larger URLs often are too long for a single line, requiring many of our readers to go through gymnastics when clicking on the links. When the URL is naturally short ( such as http://www.uieroadshow.com), we skip the tinyURL.

We’ve talked about building our own version of TinyURL (after all, it’s just a simple matter of PHP programming) that could use more mnemonic abbreviations, but so far the priority hasn’t popped to the top of our to-do list.

Of course, if we could count on everyone having the same email reader, then we’d have much better luck matching our newsletter to their needs.

3 Responses to “TinyURLs in UIEtips”

  1. Kristeen Bullwinkle Says:

    I appreciate the use of the TinyURL. I feel like you’ve taken an extra step to make my life a little easier. On a related note, I see you display the http:// protocol when listing a URL. I prefer seeing just http://www.ueiroadshow.com rather than http://www.ueiroadshow.com. In an e-mail I can see the need for the protocol, but not for a page displayed in a browser or in a printed brochure.

  2. Jacob Says:

    One service out there is LookLeap, which functions much like TinyURL, except that it includes the hostname. Thus you can see better where you are going.

    http://lookleap.com

  3. Derek Says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but what’s the downside to configuring Apache to do a redirect (tell incoming links to address “uie.com/tinyurls” to go to “uie.com/brainsparks/2006/01/19/tinyurls-in-uietips/”?)

    Jared, from a search engine standpoint, “tinyurl.com” gets a free link for your (uie.com) content. Things may have changed since I last read about this a year or so ago, but I’m pretty sure that “tinyurl” gets the credit for the links that are actually going to your site, which is a boon for them.

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